Singapore fans of the Red Devils and Liverpool unite against racism
But whichever team they support, there is a line they would not cross – they wouldn’t make a racist remark against a player playing for the opposing team, no matter how strong, or how loathed. These are the football fans in multiracial, multicultural Singapore. These are the people who are “football siao”.
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But they aren’t siao enough to make a racist attack. In fact, their reaction to racism in football was similar – no matter which team they supported or what race they are, they were disgusted by the recent spate of online racist attacks against the likes of Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcus Rashford, Chelsea’s Reece James and West Bromwich Albion’s Romaine Sawyers.
Every week, 220 footballers in the English Premier League – each wearing a badge that proclaims “No Room For Racism” – take the knee before kickoff in solidarity with the movement to kick out racial discrimination.
The problem persists.
“It’s absolutely disgusting,” says Singapore-based Manchester United fan and music producer Stephen Day, who is from the UK.
“We are all the same, no matter what colour we are. We bring different ideas and different styles to the field of play. Colour makes the football field more beautiful,” says events host Royston Jalleh, also a United fan.
“My favourite Liverpool player is an Egyptian and a Muslim,” says Liverpool fan Danny Loong, co-founder of the Timbre Group. “Look at how much he has contributed to the game, and to Liverpool. They would not have won the title last season without him.”
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Arsenal fan Eric Ong, who may not be very happy with his team’s current performance on the pitch, is more disappointed with the racist behaviour of online trolls.
“We are better than this,” he says.
Indeed. So football fans around the world, we at Football Siao hope you would join us as we, too, stand in solidarity with the players and teams to stamp out racism with these video messages.